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From Idris Elba to Kevin Hart, gorilla-naming event attracts stars to Rwanda

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From Idris Elba to Kevin Hart, Gorilla Naming Ceremony in Rwanda attracts celebrities, athletes, conservation heroes and thousands of locals

The annual Gorilla Naming Ceremony, outside the Volcanoes National Park, celebrates the new members of a species once on the brink of extinctionIdris and Sabrina Elba were joined by Nigerian-French singer-songwriter Asa, US comedian Kevin Hart and other stars, dressed in traditional warrior robesTourismKalpana SunderPublished: 4:15pm, 2 Oct, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

It’s a misty Rwandan morning and the atmosphere is festive.

In a field with the silhouettes of the Volcanoes National Park in the Virunga Mountains as a backdrop, a crowd of young students in olive green T-shirts and baseball caps wave flags, dance and sing along to live music. Elsewhere, thousands of parents with children perched on their shoulders are cheering and moving to the music.

White tents have been pitched in the middle of the field, which is dominated by a gargantuan woven bamboo statue of a gorilla family – a silverback, his mate and two infants – and a narrow stage made from steel, bamboo and eucalyptus.

As traditional drummers pound their instruments, volunteers rush around, ushering VIP guests to their seats inside the tents.

In front of the stage, male dancers wearing flowing headdresses made of white grass perform the Intore warrior dance, before 180 artists from the Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company twirl, spin and jump, sheathed in eye-catching anklets.

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